Steps to become humble:
- Do some patently incredible shit.
- Pretend like you don’t care.
- Make sure you toss the word luck around a lot. Alternatively, if you want to make God vomit, say it’s all because of Him.
- If you want to go one step further, keep your voice strenuously low.
As far as virtues go, humility is one of the most advertised. It has the best word-of-mouth. Let’s begin with an infomercial:
“Hello, THOUSANDS OF MILLIONS of readers. Today we are selling HUMILITY. Humility is a MULTIPURPOSE MULTIVERSE MULTICELLULAR virtue. It’s the once in a LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY to IMPRESS family, friends, and all the other people you actually care about. This offer is especially for YOU, yes I am talking to you person-who-secretly-believes-you-are-God’s-messenger. With humility, people will never find out you are a psycho. When you buy humility from us you get RESPECT, INSPIRATION, JOY, PEACE, ABSENCE OF BODY ODOUR, PAINLESS PERIODS, A GARLIC PEELER, AND SIX-PACK ABS. What more, it’s adjustable, reusable, and made of 13% PHOENIX ash. Please call 1-800-PEECOCK to get a 95% discount NOW! Get an additional 10% discount if you call in the NEXT 60 MINUTES! That’s 1800-PEECOCK!”
We struggle with humility the same way we struggle with our conscience. Much as we know people are turned off by arrogance, we can’t help but occasionally thump our chest like chimps. If someone has a problem, that’s because they are jealous. As dicky as that sounds, the line of thought is still somewhat honest.
The pride we feel when we pretend to be humble is far more insidious. To quote Mr. Darcy, “I can pretend to be humble if it makes the girl I have the hots for fall in mad love with me after which I can always go back to being the arseole I am.”
Not only are you fooling people but you are trying to fool yourself. Fake humility becomes your substitute for achievement and in order to fortify this facade, you begin to accumulate useless achievements.
Who would have thought our atavistic emergency to be liked and accepted would turn into a bunch of half-human-half-plasticbag’s acknowledging our existence for a brief instance through the click of a button inside an illusion of human connection in order to remind us of their comatose continuance so we can return the favor on a day their self-worth has been equally jaded by truth and honesty.
And then to pretend to not care about the number of likes you get? At least be pretentious about something real: like being vegan, or reading Jane Austen.
Why work so hard at humility? What is so wrong with feeling good about yourself? At least that way you still keep your idea of success real. And someday when you see how stupid your idea is, guess what? Humility happens.
And you will automatically gravitate toward the things you love. And when you are doing what you love, humility becomes redundant. Because there is no pride to show or hide. There is no society to impress or improve. Because there is no You left in those moments of doing and so there’s no one left to feel vain afterward.
Last week, a WordPress notification popped up congratulating me for publishing the 200th essay on the blog. For the longest time, I was proud of sticking to something for so long. Or writing for myself. But last week was a reminder about how that feeling had changed. And it felt strange.
In writing, I had discovered a way of life where a milestone was there only to remind you of how unbelievable the journey’s been. I don’t know if what I felt then was humility and it doesn’t matter what it was. What mattered was I didn’t have to pretend anymore. Pretend like this was some great undertaking. Pretend like I was going somewhere with this. Pretend like I didn’t care.
Instead, I wondered, who the heck is going to write #201?
“Hi, 1800-PEECOCK? I am calling regarding your product, humility. I got mine delivered to me yesterday and today, it stopped working and I am back to feeling like shit.”
“Well, sir, in that case, please buy our product, Fake success. With Fake success, your erogenous zones will be activated by Social Media, the News, and conceited English Gentlemen. You will also feel superior based on the color of your shit, hate on people because their great great grandfathers couldn’t do something as simple as steal people’s land, and finally, since you are a regular at PEECOCK, we have decided to bump you up the line to be God’s messenger. When you buy Fake success you will never stop feeling Fake Humble again. We will even throw in a porta-potty so you can take all the credit for making the world a less shitty place.”